U.S.-Russia-UN Meeting on Syria Set for July 26 In Geneva
July 22, 2016 (EIRNS)—The United States, Russia, and the United Nations will be convening a high level meeting on Syria in Geneva on July 26. TASS first broke the story, yesterday, from sources in Geneva, but then it was subsequently confirmed by both the Russian Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department. The meeting will be convened "For the purpose of furthering Russia-U.S. cooperation on political and diplomatic aspects of settling the Syrian conflict," TASS’s diplomatic source said.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed this during her regular briefing at the Foreign Ministry, yesterday. "We hope the American side will act on its promises to differentiate the moderate (Syrian) opposition from Jabhat al-Nousra," Zakharova said.
"There’s no place for terrorists in a future Syria or in other countries of the region. They must be eliminated. Russia will continue to facilitate precisely this pattern of developments in various formats,"
she said. "Proceeding from this position, we’re preparing for participation in a high-level trilateral meeting in Geneva next week." US State Department Spokesman John Kirby told Sputnik, this morning, that the US is committed to further advances in the effort to settle the Syrian crisis.
"We are committed to moving forward on the steps agreed to by Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov in their meeting last week,"
US Secretary of State John Kerry, in remarks at the conclusion of the two day conference of the anti-ISIS coalition in Washington, yesterday, was cautiously optimistic about the prospect of US-Russia cooperation in Syria. He said he was "hopeful" that a U.S.-proposed plan for counterterrorism coordination with Russia in Syria will bear fruit, but "I can’t say I’m confident, because there are very tough issues that are being resolved" in ongoing U.S.-Russia talks.
"We’re going steadily and carefully down a road without making promises in public that we can’t keep, because I think people are already frustrated enough"
by Syria, Kerry said of the still-secret plan. Still, he said,
"it’s possible that if everybody does what they’ve said they’re prepared to do that this could change what is happening in Syria."
Aside from the terrorist groups in Syria, those most opposed to U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria are the British, as U.K. Defense Secretary Michale Fallon made clear, yesterday. "We don’t think it’s right to collude in any way with Russia," he said, reported the Washington Post. "We’re happy with the current arrangement."
UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, who is expected to attend the July 26 meeting, still has not set a new date for peace talks to resume in Syria. Syria’s ambassador in Moscow, Riyad Haddad, said, however, the government in Damascus is ready for them to resume at any time.
"Preparations are underway. So far we don’t know when it will happen. But Damascus is ready. The Syrian delegation is ready. Once they announce the resumption we will immediately go to Geneva,"
he told TASS.